Lawmakers seek to address climate change priorities ahead of Gov. Hochul’s executive budget

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ALBANY, NY (WENY) — In the shadow of a giant inflatable pig, environmental advocates rallied for legislation that would require oil companies to pay for climate damages.

Advocates rallied ahead of a senate finance committee hearing where lawmakers narrowed down the priorities for the Climate Action Council Scoping Plan that was advanced this previous December.

Some advocates said New York State will soon face financial hurdles to deal with climate change the burden shouldn’t fall on New Yorker’s shoulders.

“Right now, the cost will be there. The people that are going to pay for it right now are average New Yorker’s. The oil companies are responsible for this problem, they have the money, they should be the ones who pay for it,” said Blair Horner, Executive Director of the New York Public Interest Research Group.

Horner and some other advocates are pushing for the Climate Change Superfund Act that would require fossil fuel companies most responsible for climate change to pay into a $30 million super-fund.

Local lawmaker Sen. Tom O’Mara (R-Big Flats) said while accountability for those putting pollutants into the environment is important, this could drive some businesses out of New York State.

He also said the Climate Action Scoping Plan will be financially challenging for the state and it could further strain the issue of affordability.

“The costs of this thing are going to spread across the board of all goods and services from groceries to gasoline, to car prices, to home prices,” O’Mara said.

O’Mara added he also questions the reliability of the grid to handle moving toward zero emissions and away from gas powered utilities.

Following the Thursday committee hearing, lawmakers now await Gov. Hochul’s state executive budget due on Feb. 1.


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